Mac Calhoun is the General Manager at Blueprint Coffee Delmar and has been a member of our team for the past two years. They bring a breadth of experience in the food and beverage industry from working in both corporate and local restaurants as a server, bartender, assistant manager, and shift lead.
WHAT PROMPTED YOUR INTEREST IN COFFEE?
When I started at Blueprint, I knew little to nothing about coffee. I mainly started working here because I wanted to learn. Now, I think the most rewarding thing is when I talk to a customer who knows very little about coffee, and by the end of the interaction, they are inspired to buy beans and merchandise. I love seeing the light on people’s faces when they feel welcomed in a space.
WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS YOU HAVE LEARNED THROUGH YOUR CAREER & YOUR ROLE AT THE CAFÉ?
As General Manager, I focus on staff development, ordering, and all the responsibilities of making the café run smoothly. When it’s not, I identify the problems and collaborate to make changes. I’ve learned more about communication, accountability, growth, and how to be on top of a ladder without letting my fear stop me, and I’ve learned so much about relationships.
WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO COFFEE ORDER WHEN YOU VISIT ANOTHER CAFE?
When I visit Watson, it’s usually to try their seasonal drinks. If I’m going to any other café, I want espresso and something that is specific to their coffee shop — whether it is a seasonal drink or a featured coffee. I always trust the barista and their recommendations.
My favorite item on Blueprint’s menu is an iced cortado with a very small splash of oat milk.
IF YOU COULD ENJOY A CUP OF COFFEE WITH ANYONE IN THE WORLD, WHO WOULD IT BE?
I would sit with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the present or Marsha P. Johnson in the past.
IS THERE A COMMON MISCONCEPTION ABOUT SPECIALTY COFFEE, OR ANYTHING YOU WISH MORE CONSUMERS KNEW?
I wish people would be more open to the concept that not everything you hear is going to be right for you. There’s a way we do things at Blueprint and a way at every other coffee shop. It’s all in the eye of the coffee drinker and what they like.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT THE BLUEPRINT DELMAR COMMUNITY?
I love the Delmar community and all the walks of life it brings. The staff here are definitely my favorite group of people I’ve ever worked with. COVID has impacted all of us in our own ways, and at the end of the day, I’m here to uplift the people who make this coffee shop what it is. The entire Blueprint community plays a role in why we are all still here today.
HOW DOES COFFEE IMPACT COMMUNITIES AND EVERYDAY LIFE?
The beauty in coffee is how many people are impacted by us selling all the many forms of a bean. In St. Louis, I think we have this opportunity to be part of a coffee community that is intersectional, inclusive, anti-racist, and safe. We just have to put in the work to get there.
WHAT ARE YOUR PASSIONS OUTSIDE OF THE CAFÉ?
Outside of work, I keep my plants alive, decorate my tiny little studio space, and write a lot. Pre-COVID, I loved going to shows at The Duck Room, The Pageant, and The Grove. Now I like to skate around Forest Park and get takeout from Corner 17.